Last night I was replaying a terrible fight I had with Jack. He did something he shouldn't have done, that really upset me, and I lost my temper. I yelled, said mean things, and walked away wishing I could take it all back and handle it like a grown up, not like a four year old.
It got me thinking back on all the things I regret as a parent, and the crazy thing is that they all have one thing in common.
It's never the kids acting out or embarrassing me that hangs over my head at night. Their misbehavior is to be expected and doesn't generally bother me longer than the incident itself. It's when I act out or embarrass myself that it lingers in my mind, hurting my heart.
I realized, with some significant clarity yesterday, that that's not who I want to be. I don't want to be the mom who yells, who loses her temper, who is mean or uncaring when the kids mess up, act out or make mistakes. It doesn't make me feel better, this reacting... in fact in the end, it makes me feel worse.
Instead I want to be the mom who keeps her calm. Who is the eye of the storm. When we're running late, I want to be the general who gives calm orders to the troops to get back on track. When the kids spill milk, I want to be the mature mom who says, "Solve the problem," and carries on with the morning routine, not the one berating their child for a small mess. When the boys lie or hurt each other, I want to calmly dole out a consequence, set clear expectations for future behavior and move on. I don't want to hurt my children's feelings or make them feel terrible about themselves because of something they did perhaps without a thought.
Monday this week was really hard on me. My most recent post was started Monday. I had a lot hanging over my head-- the election, the effects of the time change, Logan's upcoming EEG appointment and Wyatt crying at morning drop off. I was emotional and longing for a change.
I am tired of fighting the same struggle. I am tired of always trying to not yell. I do know I've made progress from when I started in Alaska three years ago. For the first three months living here, I hardly yelled at all. It's just been the last two weeks where it was escalating. I think living in a house with a yard, sending the boys to school and being able to coparent with Josh has helped, but I want it to be a thing of the past permanently. When I'm frustrated with the kids I want my first reaction to be breathing, not hollering.
So using this post from September of 2013, I am going to focus on #5--controlling myself-- and using a sticker chart on my calendar to track progress. I am going to talk quietly, kneeling if I need to, in order to get eye to eye, and use as few words as possible, not go on and on. With the big boys hearing more swears and disrespectful talk from fellow students, I need more than ever to be the example they need of someone who speaks respectfully, positively and without swearing or yelling. So I am committing to being that example.
I feel hopeful that I can nip this bit of yelling in the bud and finally be rid of that negative part of my parenting. It's been a long journey, and I'm ready to see the finish line.
"I will breathe.
I will think of solutions.
I will not let my worry control me.
I will not let my stress level break me.
I will simply breathe.
And it will be okay.
Because I don't quit."